by Rev. David Petersen
It is a kind of back-handed compliment and acknowledgement that Christianity is an actual religion of peace that some people will take one of our most sacred symbols and desecrate it to mock us without the slightest fear or notion that they will be abused in any way for it. I do not know of anywhere in the world where sticking an Ichthus* with feet and maybe the word “Darwin” written inside of it on your car will cause Christians to vandalize your car or even be rude to you and, certainly there is nowhere in the world where Christians would respond to such mocking blasphemy with violence.
Calls to coexist alongside of Darwin fish show the hypocrisy of those who beseech us to be tolerant. It is not accidental that they never coexist alongside of desecrated Islamic symbols. The simple reality is that it is not Christianity that oppresses the world but it is the world that oppresses Christians.
President Harrison’s letter regarding the persecution strikes exactly the right tone for our day. (Read it here.) We should repent of taking our place in this world for granted and thinking we belong here. We should remember that the devil is our enemy. We should be ready for the trials that must come. And we should also, and maybe most importantly, rejoice that God has revealed to us a better country and home in Christ.
That last bit is often the most difficult part. How do we rejoice in the midst of these kinds of sorrows? To that end I commend to you a book currently on sale for only $7.00 at cph.org: One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism by Dr. Thomas Von Hagel of Concordia University Chicago. There Von Hagel gives some needed history lessons on martyrdom and confession along with vivid and apt illustrations for our own age. He teaches us to how the Church has rejoiced and confessed during persecutions in the past and enables us to heed President Harrison’s call to rejoice.
Along with that $7.00, I also urge you put your money where your hearts is. Support, in deed and prayer, our brothers and sisters suffering persecution from your abundance by supporting the LCMS’s fund to aid persecuted Christians. (Click here to learn more.)
Kyrie Eleison! Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.
*Ichthus is the Greek word for “fish.” In the Early Church, it was used during persecution as a symbol for our hope in Christ since the Greek letters could stand as an acronym for: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.